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KZN stars shine at SA Road Cycling Champs

Women from the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation's Elite Athlete Development Programme dominate the U23 women's podium - left to right, Tiffany Keep (2nd), Frances Janse van Rensberg (1st) and Thana Groenewald (3rd). Pictures: Chris Hitchcock/PhotoSport-ZA

KwaZulu-Natal-based road cyclists enjoyed significant success at the SA Road Championships held in Swellendam recently, with athletes from the province’s Elite Athlete Development Programme walking away with three gold medals and a total of six podium finishes.

The KZN-based women, in particular, enjoyed one of their best showings at the SA Road Champs with Midlands cyclist Frances Janse van Rensberg winning the U23 time trial and road race titles, and surging onto the overall elite podium as well.

On a cloud

“I am still on a cloud!” said the Hilton-based road star.

“The time trial was wet and rainy and I was worried about my legs for the road race, but fortunately I turned around well and was feeling strong for the road race.

Tiffany Keep races through the rain in Swellendam en route to her silver medal in the Under 23 individual time trial at the SA Road Cycling Champs.

“The road race took place in my kind of conditions; hot and windy. With cross winds, I found myself in the breakaway as the only Under 23 among the elite girls.

“The two leaders got away and I was left in a race with four others up the final climb which I managed to get right to finish on the overall elite podium, which was so good!” she said.

She attributes a lot of her success to the strength and conditioning during the lockdown months and in her pre-season.

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“The results from SAs simply would not have been possible without the KZN Department of Sport’s EADP,” said Janse van Rensberg.

“For me core strength is so important, especially in time trials, and all the off-season work with heavy weights is paying off,” she added.

Janse van Rensberg pointed out that the Swellendam nationals had returned the best results by KZN riders for decades, and said that the work from the EADP team at Prime was a significant factor in that.

Tiffany Keep (in second) on the wheel of Azulda Britz at the front of a group of elite and Under 23 women at the SA Road Cycling Champs in Swellendam.

“I was thrilled with Chloe Bateson winning the junior road title and Tiffany Keep’s medals, especially after her injuries,” she said.

Kloof-based Keep won silver in the individual U23 time trial, and then added the bronze in the 133km road race, to cap a remarkable recovery from a concussion injury in November.

“After not racing for so long it was a hard course that took no prisoners and the race was a tough, long one at 136km,” said Keep, who was part of the first Elite Athlete Development Programme intake as a promising 15-year-old.

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“I felt really good on the time trial and, importantly, my second was a lot closer to first that it has been in the past.

“I am in a good space now after my concussion that forced me to write off the rest of last year and reset. I am strong now and feeling positive and in a good mental space,” said Keep.

**The road cyclists currently on the Elite Athlete Development Programme are Chloe Bateson, Tiffany Keep, Travis Stedman, Frances Janse Van Rensburg, Henry Liebenberg, Unathi Nxumalo and Thabiso Zindela.

Summary of medallists

SA Road Champs, Swellendam

Individual Time Trial

Junior women – 15km
Gold: Caitlin Thompson
Silver: Chanté Olivier
Bronze: Chanté Oosthuizen

Junior men – 20km
Gold: Pedri Crause
Silver: Kai von During
Bronze: Jason Eggett

U23 women – 30km
Gold: Frances Janse van Rensburg
Silver: Tiffany Keep
Bronze: Thana Groenewald

Elite women – 30km
Gold: Candice Lill
Silver: Carla Oberholzer
Bronze: Zanri Rossouw

U23 men – 40km
Gold: Marc Pritzen
Silver: Jason Oosthuizen
Bronze: Callum Ormiston

Elite men – 40km
Gold: Ryan Gibbons
Silver: Matt Beers
Bronze: Kent Main

Road Race

Junior women – 80km
Gold: Chloe Bateson
Silver: Caitlin Thompson
Bronze: Chante Oosthuizen

Junior men – 133km
Gold: Jason Eggett
Silver: Warren Moolman
Bronze: Chanton Perrins

U23 women – 133km
Gold: Frances Janse van Rensburg
Silver: Azulde Britz
Bronze: Tiffany Keep

Elite women – 133km
Gold: Hayley Preen
Silver: Carla Oberholzer
Bronze: Frances Janse van Rensburg

U23 men – 178km
Gold: Marc Pritzen
Silver: Travis Barrett
Bronze: Travis Stedman

Elite men – 178km
Gold: Marc Pritzen
Silver: Willie Smit
Bronze: Nicolas Dlamini

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